Walmart Is Overhauling Stores to Create a Simpler, Mobile-Inspired Shopping Experience


At this point, it’s clear that 2020 will end up changing how many people live and work in ways that will outlast the pandemic itself. It looks like that could also end up being the case with how we shop, at least if a little company called Walmart has anything to say about it.

This week, the mega-retailer announced plans to significantly overhaul 200 Walmart Supercenter locations by the end of 2020 in order to more seamlessly facilitate a “digitally-enabled shopping experience.”  That means simplifying their stores by using lettered and numbered aisles for streamlined navigation, as well as making it possible to let the Walmart app guide you directly to where an item is in the store.

According to Janey Whiteside, Walmart’s Chief Customer Officer and EVP, the inspiration for redesigning the brand’s supercenters for optimum navigational efficiency came from another place you may not have been to in a while: the airport.

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“When we set about doing this, the team spent a good amount of time experiencing places where large groups of people gathered and needed to be quickly marshaled, or navigated to somewhere,” Whiteside told Fast Company. “Airports were a place that inspired us because, by nature, you don’t spend an awful amount of time in airports, so you don’t know your way around. But you need to get a lot of people somewhere in a timely fashion.”

Though the redesign planning predates the pandemic, the end result will emphasize certain shopping features that have become much more popular in 2020. Self-checkout kiosks will be a part of these overhauled Supercenters, and contactless pay via Walmart Pay will make it easier for those looking to minimize their Covid-19 risk while shopping in-store. Out in the parking lot, prominent blue arches will mark pickup areas for a smoother process for those who’d rather not set foot inside.

In all, Walmart says it will remodel 1,000 Supercenters in this fashion by the end of 2021, with some Health Centers and Neighborhood Markets potentially getting the airport-inspired treatment as well. So if you’re the kind of person who’s always on their phone while wandering the aisles of Walmart, well, your life is about to get a little bit easier. 


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